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Social Media Directors and More: What's in a Name?

If you spend much time around social media marketers, you’ll notice that this group of people has a particularly diverse pool of names:

Social media director? Guru? Rockstar? Ninja? Missionary? Tactician? Blogger-in-chief? Idea inventor?

social media directors and gurus


You’ll run into all these people and so many more working in social media that you’ll wonder how they haven’t had a collective identity crisis yet. Indeed, there have been plenty of spinoffs and articles poking fun at the variety and hilarity of names as well, some cynical, some appreciative.

I’m not going to say I endorse people calling themselves the “Chief People-Herder,” but we can learn at least one important thing about the people behind names through the titles.

For one, the person’s title is indicative of their personality. They might all have the same base job function, but since these people are quirky people people (as in, the plural of people person), they are of course going to try to make themselves stand out in a sea of people with the same job. If this means having an eccentric title on their business card, then so be it. It could bring laughs to people, and even better, help your name stick in people’s memories.

Furthermore, someone who chooses to be known as a “social media enthusiast” is clearly going for different implications than someone who is a “social media ninja” or “social media guru.” While the enthusiast emphasizes their attitudes toward their field, a guru, for instance, stresses their knowledge and expertise. A ninja may wish to point out that they are adept at wrangling many different networks. A rockstar could want to showcase their skills at making something popular on social media. It completely depends on the tone that the person wants to go to, which leads you to a window of insight into their personality and how they work.

A smaller but still important effect of the title is to show the culture of the company they work for. A company with a relaxed, jovial culture would easily place a stamp of approval on a quirky title like “social media ninja.” A company with a need to remain completely formal and professional would likely prefer to stick with a safe “director of social media.”

In short, social media workers’ titles are often formed under the influence of their companies and their own characteristics, with a dose of what they want to be. Next time you meet someone with an unusual title, ask them about it!

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